A proposed class action alleges Burt’s Bees, Inc. has intentionally mislabeled a slew of lip products as “100% natural” given the items contain hydrogenated oils or coco-glycerides, which are considered synthetic ingredients.
The 24-page suit says nearly 50 varieties of Burt’s Bees products are falsely labeled given they contain oils made through hydrogenation, a process by which unsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oil are converted to saturated fatty acids.
During hydrogenation, unsaturated double bonds in the fatty acids of vegetable oils react with hydrogen atoms in the presence of a metal catalyst, the case states. According to the lawsuit, a natural oil is altered chemically when reacted with a metal catalyst in the presence of hydrogen gas so that it differs from how it occurs naturally.
“As a result, all of the hydrogenated ingredients in the Products are not natural,” the complaint alleges.
Consumers have an interest in buying products that are not labeled falsely or misleadingly with regard to their contents, and Burt’s Bees “impaired” the plaintiff and other consumers’ ability to select the type and quality of products they chose to buy, the case contends.
“As a result of Defendant’s fraudulent labeling, Plaintiff has been misled into purchasing products that did not provide them with the benefit of the bargain they paid money for, namely that the Products would be 100% natural,” the filing states.
According to the lawsuit, the Burt’s Bees lip products that are falsely labeled as 100-percent natural include: